Berries & Cherries

This post has nothing to do with dogs or puppies, except to let you know a little more about who we are and what we do when we’re not caring for your babies!

We live on the side of a hill.  I like to call it “Silver Hill”, though we don’t have an official name for our mini-farm.  Our last name means “silver”, and so that is how Silver Paw Kennels got it’s name.  Right now I suppose we could be called “Silver Berry Ranch” because we have berries by the gazillions!! 

We have already picked the early strawberries for the year and put up 25 pints of strawberry jam (more specifically, my husband and children did this while I was off to Seattle having fun for the weekend) and I froze several gallons of strawberries.  The strawberry plants are blooming again, and that means we will have another crop before the cold weather hits us this fall!  I’m really looking forward to the strawberries again.  I want to get as many into the freezer as I can because we LOVE smoothies anytime of the year!

We’ve been working hard this past week picking Raspberries!  We have two raspberry patches, and I wish all of you were neighbors because I would freely share my raspberries with you!  We could never get them all picked, and it’s so sad to see them shrivel up and fall to the ground.  We are blessed that the birds don’t snatch them up, and this year, there are barely any wasps.  One year we had so many wasps that it was nearly impossible to pick the berries, and the ones we did manage to grab, were often partially eaten.  But that is not the case this year.! 

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Each day we fill up several pans of berries, like this one, and get them into the freezer.  After they’re frozen, we bag them in ziplock bags, and they are ready for smoothies, pies, fruit salad, hot cereal, or whatever else we’re inspired to use them for!  We also can them, then thicken the berries with cornstarch and serve as a sauce over pancakes or waffles!

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As we were picking berries yesterday, I noticed these “black” raspberries.  I had forgotten that “The Woodman” (my hubby), had planted these, and it looks like we’ll have a decent crop of them this year.  They aren’t quite as sweet as the regular raspberries, but they are unique and different, and kind of novel and fun!  And they’ll be SO PRETTY with the red berries on vanilla ice cream, or whipped topping!

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One nice thing about picking berries is that it’s kinda shady, and it’s fun to just pick and talk, pop a berry or two (or 20) into your mouth, then pick some more, talk some more, and I’ve really enjoyed the time I’ve spent doing this with my children this week.

We also have cherry trees!  We had a decent crop this year and actually got them picked BEFORE the birds did their damage.  While the birds seem to leave the raspberries alone, (or perhaps there are so many raspberries, we don’t notice), they have completely destroyed our cherry crop the past 2 years.  So this year, we were watching the cherries VERY CLOSELY, and picked them just before they were totally ripe.  Even though they aren’t quite as sweet as they could have been, we felt victorious because the birds didn’t get our crop this year.

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My oldest son was on cherry picking duty, and got them all picked for me.  We have them in the cold storage right now, hoping they’ll ripen just a bit more before we’ll half them, coat them with a bit of sugar, and then freeze them in quart ziplock bags.  I’ve never had frozen cherries before, so this will be fun figuring out what I can use them for.  A friend has already told me that Cherry Jam is THE BEST, so we’ll probably try our hand at making some of that!  They taste just as good as they look!

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